Different learning strategies work best for different students. It is important that peer tutors are able to adapt and change their lesson plans based on the needs and strategies that are going to prove most effective to helping the tutee. For example, if the tutee is more of a visual learning, a peer tutor may try to implement more visual learning activities into the meeting sessions.
Below is a list of different types of learners including methods that could implemented into tutor sessions that best support this type of learning style.
Visual Learners learn through images and pictures. These types of learners enjoy being able to physically see something that allows them to understand better.
- Draw images
- This method works great for trying to memorize definitions or vocabulary words. Have students draw a picture next to the words or concepts they are trying to learn so that they can associate that concept with a given image to improve understanding.
- When explaining concepts use hand gestures
- When verbally explaining a concept to a visual learning tutee, try using specific hand gestures for each concept. Then whenever mentioning that same topic repeat the same hand gesture so the tutee can associate your body language and hands with that concept.
- Color code
- When having to read or write, visual learners can benefit from having a color code. For example, the student could write or highlight every vocabulary word in red, every definition in blue, and every explanation in green. This can help with organization and allow tutees to associate a given color with a concept.
Verbal Learners learn by reading and interacting with text or writing.
- White boards
- During meeting sessions, ask your tutee different comprehension questions and have them write their answers down on a whiteboard or a piece of paper.
- Practice quizzes
- If there is time before the meeting session, create a practice-like test that tutees could take. This will allow them to understand where in the subject matter are the concepts they understand very well, and the concepts they may need to review.
- This strategy works great if a tutee needs to interpret a visual (such as an image, graph, or chart), or the tutee needs to listen to a recording and understand. Have the tutee annotate or write down explanations beside the visuals that they can refer to later that explain the visuals to them. While listening to an audio tape or watching a video, have the tutee write down notes to themselves that they can refer to later.
- If tutees are struggling to memorize explanations or definition, have them write it down and copy it repeatedly. This act of repetition will allow them to better remember the concepts.
Auditory Learners learn by hearing and speaking.
- Explain concepts out loud and clearly
- When explaining concepts to the tutee, explain them outloud rather than having them read an explanation. As the tutor, it is important to explain things slowly, clearly and in a logical order so that the listening tutee can follow along in your explanation.
- Audio recordings
- With the consent of the tutor, allow the tutee to audio record the tutor explaining a concept. Later, the tutee can replay this audio recording to review the concepts the tutor explained during their meeting.
- Come up with mnemonic devices
- For example “PEMDAS” is a mnemonic device used in math to help students remember the order of operations. Each letter in PEMDAS stands for a different operation (P is parentheses, E is exponents, and so on). Tutors and tutees can work together to come up with their own devices like this to remember different concepts.
- Use the subject material in a song
- Have the tutee chose a tune they known well (such as a nursery rhyme). Work together to write your own lyrics to this tune while incorporating subject matter and explanations into the song. This way, if the tutee can remember the little song, they can better recall different concepts.
Kinesthetic Learners learn by doing. Hands-on activities are the most effective for these types of learners.
- White boards
- During meeting sessions, ask your tutee different comprehension questions and have them write their answers down on a whiteboard and hold them up to show you their answer.
- True or False questions activity
- Ask the tutee different true or false questions. If the tutee thinks the answer is true then have them walk to one side of the room, if the tutee thinks the answer is false have them walk to the other side. (This could also work with having them stand up or sit down) This method is great for getting tutees active while still reviewing concepts.
- Games (please note that many of these games require the tutor to do some preparation before the meeting session)
- There is a wide variety of games that can be played to help review concepts. Please note that not all games yield themselves to every type of subject material. Some examples of learning games are writing many different questions on a inflatable beach ball. Pass the beachball to your tutee and when they catch it, have them answer the question that their right thumb is touching.
- A matching game also works well to review different material. Using flashcards, write a vocabulary word on one flashcard and write the definition on another flashcard. Lay all the vocabulary word cards on a table, and give the tutee the definition cards and ask them to match each definition with the corresponding vocabulary word. This activity does not have to be used just for vocabulary words and definitions but can also be used with matching concepts to explanations.
- Another activity that works great especially for foreign language learners is to write each verb the tutee may need to memorize on a different slip of paper and place it in a jar. Then have them pick a verb out a jar and roll a dice. If they roll a one, they have to conjugate the verb in the “I” form, if they roll a two, they have to conjugate the verb in the “you” form, and so on.